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French-Malian star Aya Nakamura released her latest single, Doggy, on Friday, taking a playful jab at her detractors while staying true to her signature style. The song’s release comes amidst a heated debate surrounding her potential performance at the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics, with the French far right expressing their disapproval.

In Doggy, Nakamura confidently addresses her critics, singing, “I don’t have enemies, it’s them who don’t like me. A bunch of enemies, but I don’t even know them.” She also asserts her success and popularity, stating, “I don’t need your validation, I’m on the cover of magazines.”

The song, which previously leaked in parts but had never been officially released, is now available on streaming platforms, further cementing Nakamura’s status as the most listened-to French-speaking artist worldwide. The accompanying music video showcases the star enjoying a “fiesta” with her friends, demonstrating her unwavering energy and “cardio” for the party.

The release of Doggy comes amid a controversy surrounding Nakamura’s potential participation in the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics on July 26. The speculation, initially reported by L’Express magazine, suggests that French President Emmanuel Macron had discussed with the artist the possibility of her performing a rendition of an Edith Piaf song for the occasion. However, neither Nakamura nor the president confirmed this scenario.

The mere idea of Nakamura’s involvement in the Olympics has drawn the ire of the French far right. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far right in France, criticized the potential performance, calling it a “provocation” and an attempt by Macron to “humiliate the French people.” Similarly, Marion Maréchal, the head of the Reconquête! party’s list for the European elections, dismissed Nakamura on BFM, stating, “Like it or not, she doesn’t sing in French.” This claim, however, is inaccurate, as Nakamura’s music is a blend of French and slang from various parts of the world.

Nakamura, who was born in Bamako 28 years ago and grew up in the Paris region, has taken the criticism in stride. In mid-March, she humorously addressed the controversy on her social media, comparing herself to the legendary French singer Edith Piaf. “I feel like I made you discover Edith Piaf and that she reincarnated in me. As for the rest, whether they like us or not, it’s their problem,” she quipped.

The Franco-Malian star first gained global recognition with her 2018 hit Djadja, which became a worldwide sensation. Since then, she has continued to dominate the French-speaking music scene, releasing her fourth album, “DNK,” last year. Nakamura’s influence extends beyond music, as demonstrated by her interactive show in the popular video game Fortnite in late 2022. Such collaborations are typically reserved for global megastars like American rapper Travis Scott and Brazilian football icon Neymar.

Aya Nakamura’s latest single, Doggy, serves as a bold response to her critics, showcasing her unwavering confidence and commitment to her unique style. The song’s release amid the controversy surrounding her potential performance at the Paris Olympics highlights the ongoing debate about cultural representation and the role of artists in major international events.

With AFP